|Posted by reneesherkness on June 2, 2016 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
FREE YOGA WARM UP EXERCISE BELOW TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR SUMMER "INSECTS" LESSON PLANS..
Namaste! Meaning the heart in me honors the Heart in you...Below you will find a yoga warm up exercise to do with your children at home or in a classroom.. This warm up usually follows with the yoga story "Andy the Ant" which is found in my book: "Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga"..This story as with all the stories in my book are kid friendly stories which include yoga poses to follow along with... A great "go to" book for any parent, camp program, yoga class, school classroom, or day care group looking for a fun and healthy activity for their kids and themselves.. Available on amazon.com and on my website..http://reneesherkness.webs.com/
GARDEN WARM UP FOR INSECT THEME
1. Buzzing Bee: Sitting in easy pose: Follow buzzing bee as it flies around your head to loosen your neck muscles. Can make buzz breath Breathe in and out through teeth making buzzing breath.
2. Sprinkler: Sitting in easy pose: Put your hands on your shoulders and then twist the body front right to left and back while making sprinkler sound if you like with your breath
3. Blooming Flower: In easy pose place your fingers behind your head. Inhale and the petals open. Exhale and petals close by bringing elbows in and down towards the ground
Continue with "Andy The Ant" Story...from the book: "Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga"
Nurturing Nature collection of books: connecting "with care" to our world
Books available on amazon.com
like on face book
|Posted by reneesherkness on May 21, 2016 at 2:25 AM||comments (0)|
This video touched my heart.. Too often we see the negative in our youth and in our schools..This let's us see all the love in our children's heart and positive possibilities our young have to offer us and give to our future! It allows us to see and appreciate the wonderful works our teachers do to inspire our children be the best they can be and give and reach out to others!!
Thank you for letting us all see the goodness in our young and the important impact teachers can make in our schools!
I am grateful for seeing this..
Nurturing Nature collection of books: connecting "with care"to our world
Books available on amazon.com
like on face book
|Posted by reneesherkness on May 17, 2016 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
FREE YOGA RELAXATION EXERCISE FOR KIDS!!! AND ADULTS ALSO!!
Below is a great relaxation exercise to begin or end your child/children's day in your classes.. "Floating on a cloud" Relaxation Exercise
See more relaxation exercises, stories to practice yoga with and breathing exercises in the book:
"Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga"
Available on amazon.com
See website..http://reneesherkness.webs.com/ for more free lesson plan suggestions, book information and educational articles..
"Floating on a cloud Relaxation Exercise"
Lay down on your mat. Place your head down to keep your neck in a straight line with your spine. Relax your face, behind your eyes, your mouth. Keeping your legs open slightly and your feet falling to your side. Let your whole body feel like it is melting and begin to feel very relaxed.
Now imagine a cloud floating down to the ground toward you. Without moving a muscle imagine yourself climbing onto the cloud and floating up to the sky. This is a very full fluffy cloud and you feel very cozy safe and comfortable on it like you are resting on a big overstuffed pillow. Deep breath in and slowly out
Look at all the colors around you as you float among many other clouds of different shapes and sizes. Notice how light your body feels as you float and enjoy the ride, feeling peaceful and happy. Deep breath in and slowly out
Now lay still and relax as you watch your cloud begin to move down slowly through the sky towards the earth. Once it meets the earth, imagine yourself climbing off carefully. Imagine your body on the ground, you are still lying still but you feel heavier now. Take a deep breath in and out slowly and stretch your arms and legs. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch your face. Rub your hands together. Wash your face.
Bend your knees into your chest and roll your whole body to the side that feels most comfortable for you. Roll up slowly to a sitting position with legs crossed into easy pose Take a deep breath let it out. Rotate your head to one side, stop. Now other side, Stop. Hands together NAMASTE
|Posted by reneesherkness on April 8, 2016 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
A FREE LESSON PLAN FOR SPRING/SUMMER ON OCEAN CONSERVATION FOR YOUR CLASSROOM
Note: illustrations below are taken from the book: "Winston The Whale And The Blanket of Darkness"
Summer is upon us, contrary to the weather outside! Why not begin preparing a lesson with a summer theme and include the book: "WINSTON THE WHALE AND THE BLANKET OF DARKNESS" available on amazon.com or discounted in larger quantities through my website..reneesherkness.webs.com/
Here is a sample lesson plan to get you started! See below...
Enjoy! HAVE FUN!
*Today’s book: "WINSTON THE WHALE AND THE BLANKET OF DARKNESS"
Story about a Humpback whale and his friend Lei-le and the things that happen to them and their home the ocean because of pollution. Ask and explain "What is pollution"?
• Read storybook: "Winston The Whale And The Blanket of Darkness"
Put on listening ears
• Remind children of the oil spill in book
Show this by doing demonstration with oil and feathers to show how oil can hurt birds from swimming.. Mention how oil can also burn sea creature’s skin.
• So what do we do?
• Song on ocean
Play recording of Keep the Ocean Clean or other song on ocean conservation
• Discussion on ways to keep our ocean clean.. Ask kids?
Get involved! Participate in beach cleanups if you live in a coastal area. Go to the beach!
See where you can volunteer to clean up your local lakes, rivers and/or oceans.
Adopt a beach groups where children and grown-ups can get together to help clean up their local beaches.
*Go over websites and suggestions that are listed in the back of the book: Winston The Whale And The Blanket Of Darkness" on conservation ideas and places to contact..
*Talk about Recycling..Show how plastic bag and soda can container hurt animals in ocean.. Recycle rather then put in ocean. Speaking of Recycling what are 4 Rs?
*Recycle, reduce, reuse, and reinvent. These ideas, along with recycling, are very important when it comes to humans looking after the planet.
*Recycle . Make old things into new or different products.
Ask the children what type of things do we recycle? Bottles, paper, newspaper, plastic containers, aluminum cans etc.
*Reduce: Not use as much! Look out for packaging that is recycled. Buy things from places that use fewer containers or let you use your own recycled ones.
*Reuse: Use over again! This is the continued use of a product in its original form. For example, instead of throwing out your old microwave when you get a new one, you could sell it at a garage sale or trade it in. Try and use containers, plastic bags and newspapers as many times as possible.
*Reinvent: This is when you make new, useful things from recyclable objects. For example, using old plastic containers as lunch boxes, making crafts from old boxes and containers, making jewelry boxes from old containers, making original toys and dolls out of unwanted objects or even making costumes from recycled material. Junk isn't always something messy like a banana peel, it can include perfectly useable, clean objects that just no longer serve their original function.
• Coloring handout for ocean recycling
* Art follow up making an art craft with recycled materials
|Posted by reneesherkness on February 6, 2016 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
Funeral arrangements made, songs discussed, flowers ordered, memories shared, pictures picked out to put on poster boards… All the things you do, half aware, half hoping these things could convey the love you felt, all the emotions exposed when someone close to you dies...
January 31, 2016 my mom passed away...
The first thing I felt when my mom passed was a punch to my stomach… But the first thought when they told me my mom died was “Mom, I won’t be able to call you anymore!”…
You see my Mom had become my “go to person”
Growing up I depended on mom to take care of me, to take care of things, to be there.. When I was little like most mom she took care of all my physical needs.. Washed me, dressed me, kept me safe…the invisible mother/ daughter string to my life had been tied.. As I grew up mom continued to keep that string connected but in different ways.. She drove me to school every day, shed volunteered at my school, she watched every pyramid I made at all my cheerleading games (and I’m sure I worried her every time that I wouldn’t fall)..She picked out prom dresses with me, listened to stories of boys I fell in love with and dried my tears and took me out for hot fudge sundaes when I told her stories of boys I stopped falling in love with or stopped loving me... She sat with my girlfriends and I and I always felt she truly enjoyed hearing our silly pranks and even added a few ideas of her own of some ways to pull those pranks off. In college she sat by my bed when I struggled with big life decisions and she shared in my anxiety on my first job interview...
After I married mom’s string took on many forms. I wanted soo hard to be my own person, have my own home, do things my way... become the wife and mother I wanted to be. .. Mom’s string loosened during those times... But then id need advice and Id “call my mom” and ask her how to make a certain recipe or if I should call the doctor for my daughter or just ask “Mom how’d you raise two kids at once! Those were the times the string tightened and grew taut...
And so that’s how it went... Through marriages, childbirth, divorce, deaths, good times, challenging times... the string loosened and the string tightened... but the string never broke...
As we both grew older the string travelled both ways. .Just as I shared things with her, my mom began to share her joys and her pain with me...
When my mom passed the doctor said: “You and your mom must have been close?” and I answered, yes I think we were... He then said: “you two must have really gotten along”? I said “Hell no” we fought too! But even when we disagreed our string never broke...
I remember after the stroke how I would visit her and tell her about my day...Even if I wasn’t sure she understood… Still she was my “go to person” and the string held strong...
And now mom is gone... I can’t call her anymore or visit her and tell her my day...
After mom passed a priest said something to me that stuck with me...I said: “Father I won’t be able to call my mom any more now”… and he looked at me and said: “You know what she’s telling me right now?”.. .Don’t worry honey, just listen from your heart because I’ll be the one calling you..
So the string holds strong. I’ll always love you Mom and you’ll always be my “go to person”
|Posted by reneesherkness on February 24, 2015 at 8:20 AM||comments (0)|
As I research my new book: "Our Pop-Pop has Wings", a book on the loss of a grandparent for publication, I am more and more mindful of the impact grief has on our young and the unique needs a child is in need of when they experience the loss of a grandparent..
I look forward to completing the book to share this information with others..It is my hope and wish that this book not only remains a legacy for my husband and a reminder to my Grandchildren of the love they experienced from their “Big-Pop” but it also helps ease the pain and spark a memory to the many other children whose grandparents have passed..
It is not only a book close to my heart after the loss of my husband but also a book I feel is needed to help others who are struggling with the heavy emotions of grief within their families and looking for ways to help cope during this difficult time.
|Posted by reneesherkness on January 29, 2015 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
Just attended a writer's workshop in Pa. by fellow author Janet Mason..Inspiring, and sparked a light in me to begin publication of other manuscrips I've written..
Including a very personal book for children about the loss of a Grandparent. Also a fantasy story for children on Care,Cooperation,and working as a team among creatures who are very different! And Yes even a Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga,Part Two book!
Thank you Janet! I am so grateful for the encouragement and inspiration! Excited to begin the journey!
|Posted by reneesherkness on April 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
DO WE STILL NEED EARTH DAY ON THE CALENDAR?
By *Renee Sherkness
When I completed researching my last book Winston the Whale And The Blanket Of Darkness, about a Humpback Whale, Winston and the perils he faces due to the increasing pollution to our oceans and beaches, I sat at my computer and thought two things; One, Wow, the world needs us more then we think she does and Two, Wow we need “Her” more then we think we do!!
After teaching children for over 18 years and now a mother and grandmother I was first inspired to write my series of books on nature for children for the purpose of sparking an interest in families to help to create a healthier “world” and a healthier “us” for our future. Having a background in biology and teaching health to children and raising my own daughter in this world, I knew the earth’s environment was an important topic that should be focused on by all of us for our future. In writing my books I hadn’t expected to stumble on the vast research out there that supported the tremendous impact nature and our planets health or lack of health were playing in so many areas in ours and our children’s lives every day!
As I wrote in an article for HEM: “Go Outside and Play” many studies have and are being conducted on the benefits for children from engaging in activities in the outside environment. One of the largest study to be take very seriously discusses the ”Nature Deficit Disorder” and refers to a hypothesis by author Richard Louv in his book, “Last Child in The Woods”. NDD’s premise states that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of physical and behavioral disorders.
Wanting there to be the existence of a “clean outdoors” for our children to play in, we are thankfully all becoming more and more aware of the challenges our environment is facing and becoming more and more mindful that it’s resources are finite and will not last forever at the rate we are going.
I was pleasantly surprised while researching my books the growing number of families who were embracing the “eco-friendly” movement and had embodied this way of thinking. So many families were creating “family moments” and “time together” while embracing and helping our environment and making this a daily part of their day.
With the celebration of Earth Day coming up April 22nd I began to ponder the idea that celebrating our Earth was a mindset that was being embraced not just on Earth Day in April but every day by so many families.. Hooray, The times they were a changing.. Then do we still need one specific day like Earth Day on the calendar?
We participate in so many activities 24/7 with our children quite naturally, especially as home school parents, and are constantly reminded of the need to “go green” in our news and on TV every day. So is signifying a day to celebrate Earth Day an obsolete idea? I started to think about this..
So while I pondered a need for Earth Day, it is “still” a celebration on the calendar and just around the corner, I thought I’d refresh everyone’s mind to the wonderful ways our earth is being celebrated every day of the year!
Here are some of the many ways I discovered families were conserving and connecting with our environment and getting outside together on a daily basis as a typical routine life style choice, Earth Day or Not.. These activities were inexpensive, ingenious, very simple and seemed easy to incorporate into our daily life and quite frankly also seemed like a lot of fun!! Many ideas I included in the back of my children’s books from my “Nurturing Nature Series” with websites for families to explore and I have also tried a few out with my grandchildren, now 5 and 8 years old as well and we had a blast.
• One of the ideas my Grandchildren put into practice had a great deal of fun with this summer was collecting rain water every time it rained this summer. By doing so we not only saved on my water bill but conserved on a natural resource, water. We agreed on a container to use and place one on our deck outside. Then it was one of our responsibilities to remember to place it outside each time it rained. This responsibility with excitement was usually remembered by one of my grandchildren! After collecting the rainwater we used the water for all types of stuff that doesn’t require sparkling clean water like watering house plants or vegetables in the garden.
• When I lived in the country a day trip to our local farmer for inexpensive produce was a fun day my family and I often spent together and a way we supported local businesses while also helping our environment. Local farmers markets tend to avoid toxic pesticides and offer organic food helping decrease harmful chemicals in our environment. After the days trip in the country a fun together time was spent creating a frugal and healthy meal together to be shared. Another idea that splintered from this activity was to grow some of our own vegetables and fruit to use for a meal together. Children who help create the food they are eating are more likely to enjoy that food so much more! And we did!
Other activities families are adding to their daily life include:
• Many of us are realizing the benefits of exercise in our daily routines. Many families are making this activity a good idea for our bodies and our environment. Families are making routine family outings to participate in outdoor activities such as walking, running, hiking and spending the day at the beach or the park. Hiking through the woods is a great way to understand nature while experiencing fun exercise in the process.Traillink.com is a great site to check out a trail in your local area.
• Instead of sitting at the beach or park many are taking it upon themselves to go for walks and clean up at a beach or wooded area to give kids a better understanding of the world around them and how to keep our world clean. In addition as mentioned above studies show exposing children to nature on a regular basis not only create healthier adults, but will help your child to grow to have a healthy respect for our planet.
• Volunteering in your community to clean up. Volunteering is one of the greatest ways to stay connected as a family and to help our environment and I am happy to say is on the rise in our society. Your children will learn about giving back to the community by this example while spending quality time together. In the back of my books, “The Day Mother Nature Decided To Paint Her House”, about season change and benefits of trees for all of us, and “Winston The Whale and The Blanket Of Darkness” about ocean conservation, I list a number of ways and websites for families to go to help protect our environment and share quality time together. These websites, to name a few include places families can go to adopt a beach or where to join a beach cleanup group, adopting a park, planting a tree together or how to join a save a tree or rainforest group in your community. Many families are contacting their local waste management office to gather information on recycling programs in your area to help clean up our environment together. In Orlando, Florida Disney World has a program called Give a Day, Get a Day where if you and your family or friends volunteer to do a project they are sponsoring you will get a free day at any of the Magic Kingdom parks. This is a great volunteering opportunity and saves significant dollars for a family vacation together.
• Eco –Friendly tours are wonderful ways families are discovering a better understanding of our world and also give families a chance to spend time with sea animals and wildlife in their habitats. Swimming with the dolphins, turtles and tropical fish in Hawaii or getting a better understanding of natural wildlife in a wooded environmental tour in your local community can both be a great way for kids to have one on one time with animals and learn more about them from the people who run these types of tours.
• As mentioned above, exercise is on the rise for all of us. More and more are promoting exercise for young and old in today’s society. Many of you are getting that old bike out of the garage! Bicycles foster our health and our environments as well! Giving up your car for a family outing by bike can be a cost friendly and environmentally friendly activity.
• Remember the old drive-in days where we huddled with pillows and blankets in the back of our parent’s car to watch a movie. Those days gave way to the expensive big screen theaters we drive to today. Well now there is a new more efficient less costly and eco-friendly trend going on. Instead of a car ride to the movies, families are preventing air pollution and conserving energy by grabbing some blankets and pillows and air popcorn and renting a movie to watch at home.
• Camping out is a great way for children to get to know the environment and nature around them when they spend time in the outdoors and is becoming increasingly popular for a family vacation in today’s economy. Most places you can camp at are free to use, including your own backyard, and some places charge a minimal fee to set up camp in places like State Parks.
• The simplistic ride on a canoe or row boat out on a lake to enjoy a fun trip with your children teaches them all about creatures that live in the water.
• Environmentally friendly and organic materials are everywhere today and more and more of us are switching to them every day. These eco-friendly products are being created with materials free of lead, PVC and toxic Phthalates which are toxic to us and our planet.
• Families are finding it an everyday occurrence to make energy-efficient decisions with appliances, lighting, heating and cooling equipment, electronics, and office equipment in their home. Over their lifetime, products in your home that are certified energy efficient can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 130,000 pounds and save you an average of $11,000 on energy bills not to mention help Mother Earth’s resources to last little longer.
• I remember teaching health to 5 year old and explaining the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! Without revealing my age too much, these five year olds have grown up and are now teaching their children about the 3Rs and using these methods in their home. These simple methods of disposal helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Families every day participate in recycling program in your community, recycling newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods. Also, composting your food and yard waste isn’t uncommon also reducing the amount of garbage that you send to landfills.
• I’m always encouraging my grandchildren to take pictures of everything they see around them or to draw pictures of what they see while traveling outdoors. This helps to create a family time and also remind us of the beautiful world we live in while creating your own family scrapbook or picture albums to share and enjoy later.
So back to my initial question; With so many simple activities we can incorporate into our lives every day of the year to help our environment do we really need to celebrate Earth Day every year on one set day on the calendar? Maybe not; Most of you reading this article have thankfully already embraced an eco-friendly mindset in your home and participate in many of these ideas listed in this article every day. But maybe YES, and I tend to believe the latter, “We Need Earth Day”! Just like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Grandparents Day, it’s such a nice idea to honor and recognize someone or something we cherish so much and need so much in our lives! So Happy Earth Day dear Mother Earth and thank you so much for being there!
*Renee Sherkness is the author of The Nurturing Nature Series of Children’s books which include:
“The Day Mother Nature Decided To Paint Her House”
“Winston The Whale and The Blanket Of Darkness”
“Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga”
|Posted by reneesherkness on March 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM||comments (0)|
With all the transitions and changes Ive had to make in the last two years it's been hard to really grasp where home is for me..
I thought I found home with my first husband in the home we lived in. And for a time after the birth of my daughter It had felt like home.. After my divorce many years ago I sold the home we lived in. I felt Id never find home again.. Yet my daughter and I made a home and I felt home again. It felt right!
After she moved out to make her way in the world,to find her own "home", I moved again and remarried.. I was searching for home once more..
My husband Joe and I moved a few times and we even lost our beautiful home we made on our horse property in the country when his business closed. By then I started to ponder what home really meant.. I began to realize that the concept of "home" didnt mean a concrete building one lived in..I used to say where ever my husband Joe and I laid our heads felt like home for me..He was my home!
I never thought Id find home again after he passed away..I told my daughter once while feeling scared and lost after my husband passed away and losing our home he and I lived in "that I guess Im like a turtle now my home is on my back"! I I felt like I would never feel "home" again.. .But I just read something that made me feel right with my world again! Where I am today is where I should be; And today I am thankful, and today I am blessed..
I read: A man who had little money was asked a hypothetical question: “If you could live anywhere in the world—and if money was no object—where would you live?”
Without hesitating even for a second, he replied, “I live in my heart. So it really doesn’t matter where my body lives. If I am happy inside, then I live in Paradise, no matter where my residence is.”
Of course he was right—happiness is an inside job. This story reminded me today of something I already knew, but had forgotten. If you can’t find happiness inside yourself, you’ll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you.Home is the feeling within you not the building outside of you!
So another "wake up shake" for me to think about today!! I am once again reminded that feeling at home ,no matter where I lived never really depended on where I was but always on what was in my heart..So, with all the wonderful memories I have collected on my journey still held close to my heart and all the joyful moments that are beginning to trickle in to my heart again, and new memories I am creating with people I love, I can finally say I am beginning to find my home again.And no matter where life's journey takes me, my home can never be taken away! Today, I am "home"..
|Posted by reneesherkness on January 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM||comments (2)|
It's been over a year and a half since my husband, Joe's passing. While I lost my best friend and husband on May 8th 2012, my daughter also lost a wonderful step dad and my grandchildren lost their amazing Big Pop! I wrote this poem after my husband's death as a way to ease the pain and scar of Joe's passing for my daughter and young grandchildren..if one can ever ease the pain and scars that remain after a tragic death...After much needed healing of my own I am finally able to share it...
OUR POP-POP HAS WINGS
Our Pop- Pop to us was as big as a tree.
Next to him we stood about up to his knee.
Our Pop- Pop was so strong and so tall.
We’d shout to him “Big Pop” and he’d answer our call.
With Nana and Big Pop we’d have so much fun.
We were always so sad when our visits were done.
Nana would love to read and to sing.
She did Yoga with us, that was her thing.
But Big Pop was special beyond all compare!
We know we’d have fun when Big Pop was there!
He’d take us for walks with his dogs in the park.
And give us neat flashlights to use in the dark.
He even had horses we’d get on and ride.
We never were scared with Big Pop by our side.
He’d play dress up and cars and pretend shopping too!
With Big Pop we always had something fun and exciting to do!
But one day we were told Big Pop went away.
When we asked Nana why?
With tears in her eyes,
She had this to say…
She told us God needed someone to help the angels have fun.
So God called on Big Pop to get the job done.
So our Big Pop’s in Heaven with angel wings we are sure.
Making all the other angels laugh with a roar.
And while we miss Big Pop so much our eyes sting.
We know he’s with God and the angels with his own set of wings!